Martian cylinder

The Professor Is Not Ready To Use the Term "Hoarder" In Any Way

I just counted, and I have currently 151 shirts.

A few are well-worn, and there are a few frayed collars, but all of them are wearable and fit. Most of them fit...

If nothing else, I'm a fool for a bargain. And did you know that rich people send good quality shirts to Goodwill just because they tore one elbow out? That's where I get most of my Brooks Brothers, and for $5 apiece.

I guess it's lucky the Basement is not with us anymore.

151. I have to go and think about my life. Also, most of them need ironing, and I'd best get started.
Martian cylinder

She Died On The Interstate, Instantly, Seventy Miles An Hour

17 February 2020

Blab naggit. I have been foiled by Apple, once again.

So, I had iTunes on the old desktop, which is sufficiently senior that there’s no way to connect it wirelessly. We got a new laptop (OK, three years ago. Your laptop is a month old? Well, that's great, If you could use a nice, heavy paperweight) I wanted to transfer my iTunes library (11,000 songs deep). I asked the google. I asked Wiley, who knows stuff. I went to the Apple site. I did, or tried to do, what they advised me. I simply could not copy the damn library to an external drive.

(Before you ask, I did try to download everything onto the new, more capacious iPod, but the version on the desktop is also old, so it won’t talk to the iPod or update the version.)


So I’m doing exactly what I didn’t want to do – loading everything, CD by CD, onto the new machine. Better than 550 CDs (I’m up to Philip Glass). Not to mention all of the material I don’t have CDs for – borrowed, bought, downloaded, found. So far I’ve pulled a couple hundred more albums off the old machine, and have yet to start the hundreds of single songs I’ll have to make lists of so I know what I’m transferring.

At least I’m getting plenty of reading done as I wait for bits to scamper.

Martian cylinder

The Professor Is Appalled

I was just reading the "Ideas"section of Sunday's Boston Globe, and read an article reporting that the National Archive has been carefully editing pictures of marches and demonstrations to remove signs critical of the Orange President. That was literally Winston Smith's job at the Ministry of Truth. We have advanced from Orwellian into full-on Orwell.
Martian cylinder

Six Long Months I Spent In Quincy; Six Long Months Doing Nothing At All.

22 January 2020

So. We moved.

Our landlords sold the house. George, the husband, had a job that required him to leave at 5:00 AM to drive for a couple of hours, and had decided that this was untenable. Their plan had been to wait until their youngest was through college –this was his freshman year – and then move south to avoid the snow. Now, they told us, they were buying a house nearer to George’s work, and had actually made an offer.

Liz, the wife, said that she didn’t want to move – she’d always lived in the urban area, was somewhat agoraphobic, and, moving out into the exurbs, was concerned about bears. (Not as silly as it sounds – there are a good number of black bears in Eastern Mass and NH now). But, she said, the Bible puts the husband at the head of the house, so she had to do what he said. I would, at this point, have been questioning my beliefs, but I kept that to myself. (I did try it on Mrs. Professor, later, to her quite robust amusement).

Our hope was that the new owners would want stable, dependable tenants, so we crossed our fingers and waited. Unfortunately, the realtor, who did not seem at all interested in the property (he scheduled several viewings and didn’t show for them), took the very first offer, from people who wanted to turn the place into an “Air B&B”. (My sister, who owns several actual B&Bs, was somewhat scornful at the whole scheme). They demanded the building vacated.

We were told we had three weeks to vacate. You can imagine the probability. We did a little research and found that if they had gone to court to get us evicted, we could have requested a stay to find new digs, and a couple in their sixties with a disabled member would have gotten at least a year’s grace. We pointed this out to them. Still, we didn’t want to be obnoxious, so we apartment hunted furiously.

It turned out we couldn’t afford to live in Dorchester any more.

Let me repeat that. It turned out we couldn’t afford to live in Dorchester any more. The lovely Mrs. Professor had never lived more than two blocks from where we were, and had constantly gotten BS about living in a poor area. But now gentrification has arrived. There was a triple-decker across the street with an apartment for rent, and they wanted $3200 a month for it. Forty years ago, you could probably have bought the place for that amount per floor. We couldn’t afford to live in Dorchester any more.

We started looking in Quincy, south across the river, where I had lived from 1965 to 1985, and where our church and some friends were. When I got there, 55 years ago, the town was solid Catholic, Irish and a community of Italians, many of which were still in the stonecutter trade. Now, it’s at least 30% Chinese, with five big Asian supermarkets and entire areas with little or no English in the store windows. We bounced off this community a couple of times, including an apartment tour that lasted a good 25 seconds (“That’s the kitchen, here the bedroom, we go now.”) and a woman who told Janet if we had that many books, we “break house” and not to come.

Then we found a condo for rent that suited a lot of our needs – no stairs, room for all my books (currently, 3,981 of them), a walk-in tub for Janet’s arthritis. So we moved. We’re in post-war housing, which I swore I’d never do, but now we have a kitchen (and not just an empty room with a stove in it), and a dish washer, and a washer & dryer, and indoor parking (out of the snow), and a big deck. Mind, it’s electric everything (stove and heating included), and last month we got a $600 electric bill, but we can cope. It’s less than half a mile to the Quincy Square T stop, so if I ever get a damn job I can get there conveniently.

Though, true, I have not yet learned to dance for Flannigan’s ball.
Martian cylinder

The Professor Considers Leaving The Vehicle Assembly Building

12 December 2019

It so happens that we have a Keurig, a coffee maker that uses little prefilled pods. (I realize the ethical issues in this, but as we as a species will be extinct within three generations, it’s all kind of academic.)

We recently gained a platform for it, which it sits on, and which contains a drawer to store pods in. It’s about as wide as it is deep. Since a Keurig on a platform is too close to the overhead cabinets to lift the pod loading hatch, it rolls out so the machine is unencumbered.

It occurred to me almost immediately that what it most looked like to me was the big tracked platform that used to move spaceships from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the launch site. There is thus a certain feeling of ceremony whenever I roll the appliance out.

What really has me excited, though, is that yesterday I learned that Lego has a new kit out – it’s around 3000 pieces to make a three-foot model of the Saturn V. The kit is well over a hundred dollars, and I’d have no place to display it, but I am enchanted by the thought of putting the completed model on the trundling platform and rolling it out to meet its destiny.

We have ignition.
Martian cylinder

The Professor Passes Another Milestone, Or, Quite Possibly, A Millstone

8 December 2019

Yesterday, 7 December, was my birthday. I turned 65. I am now, demographically, elderly.


We spent the day quietly -- slept a little late, went for a drive down to Nantasket, it being such a nice day. Had an early dinner at Fox & Hounds, then went home to listen to NPR. (Ask Me Another, the second half of Prairie Home Companion, and Says You.)

If you asked me what my age was, I'd say around 40. I have decided to view the calendar with deep suspicion, and to carry on on my current course. So there.

65. Pooh and balderdash.
Martian cylinder

Yo Ho Ho!

Product recommendation, I guess.

When I was a tad, I used to wonder what rum tasted like. (This was under the influence of Treasure Island and Horatio Hornblower and similar tales.) When I achieved my majority (actually, when I was 28 and took my first drink), I was sort of disappointed. Even when I made grog, just in case. It did not seem to match the Romance with which I had infused it.


Last week I bought a bottle of Bacardi Black. Now, this tastes like what I imagined fermented molasses to taste like. Mind, I have several ounces on board at the moment, but I believe that I am satisfied with this preparation. I'm drinking it straight with ice (like an officer), and am reasonable happy with the presentation.,

Rum -- there's a short term solution!
Martian cylinder

To Lay Me Down, One Last Time, To Lay Me Down

Robert Hunter is dead.

Robert Hunter was the -- or a -- lyricist for the Grateful Dead. He died a couple of days ago. I never much cared for the Dead, so until I read his obituary I didn't know how important his work has been to me over the years. I know that the music is also important, but he wrote Ripple and To Lay Me Down and Uncle John's Band.

I guess ya never know.

It's the same story the crow told me;
It's the only one he knows.
Like the morning sun, you come,
And like the wind you go...